Friday, February 16, 2007

Richardson emerging as credible alternative?

The race for the Democratic nomination sometimes seems to be "all Senators, all the time." The only governor with a long resume in government who is a candidate for the Democratic nomination is New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. He's also the only Hispanic candidate. Although Richardson has been mired in the "second tier" behind front runners Clinton, Obama and Edwards, Chris Bowers has an interesting post in MyDD on how Richardson seems to be moving up to a solid fourth place in the polls and other signs of support. Among his advantages -- no one really dislikes him.
When I conducted a deeper analysis of a MyDD straw poll last year, among current candidates Richardson actually had the fewest last place votes. He might not be the top choice of too many people right now, but no one seems to dislike him. With a very long primary season ahead of us, and the possibility of burn-out taking place when it comes to the virtually over-exposed "top-tier," having no one dislike you could be an important way to start building support. Who knows--in a few months, Richardson could very well emerge as a fresh faced, new top tier contender. I am not saying it will definitely happen, but the possibility certainly seems to be there.
It's certainly not hard to imagine scenarios in which all three current front runners either stumble on their own or are pushed into a stumble by their rivals. A year before the race really begins, it seems Hillary's to lose -- but front-runners often do fail to make it to the finish line. Obama might not be able to shed the inexperience label. Edwards might not get the traction he needs to close the gap. Looks as if Gov. Richardson will be ready to try to pick up the pieces.

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